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Chicago Orders New Inspections of Ballpark, Threatens Cubs Game

Building commissioner says he acted after a comment by a Times reporter, who calls it a misunderstanding.

August 20, 2004|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — City officials ordered a new round of inspections at Wrigley Field on Thursday and threatened to block Monday night's baseball game if the Chicago Cubs could not prove the ballpark was safe.

Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek said he ordered the review after a Los Angeles Times reporter noted during an interview Wednesday that some repairs at the ballpark were "shoddy."

"I said that certainly the reports we received from the Cubs don't indicate that," Kaderbek said, but he said he was concerned enough that he ordered new inspections.

According to a statement from The Times, Kaderbek mischaracterized the conversation when he said the reporter told him the information came from contacts inside the Cubs organization.

According to the reporter, P.J. Huffstutter, she never said she had information from inside the Cubs organization, The Times statement said. After the commissioner questioned her on the subject, she phoned his office later that day and left a voicemail to reiterate that she had no credible information about shoddy workmanship, the statement said.

Chunks of concrete have fallen from Wrigley Field's upper deck on at least three occasions since June, prompting stadium officials to install nets to protect Chicago Cubs fans and to conduct full inspections of the upper deck and mezzanine levels.

Kaderbek said the Cubs had until noon Monday to show that the 90-year-old Wrigley Field was safe.

"If we can't get independent verification, to my satisfaction, that the repairs were made and that they were made correctly, and that it is not an issue of shoddy workmanship, we will not have a game on Monday night at Wrigley Field," he said.

The Cubs are scheduled to play the Milwaukee Brewers at the park Monday night.

A spokesman for Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs and the ballpark, referred all calls on the matter to the team. The company also owns the Los Angeles Times.

The Cubs said two separate reports had concluded the ballpark was safe, and that the team would comply with the city's request.

"If the city chooses to make further inspections, it will find what two structural engineers have already found -- Wrigley Field is safe and sound," the team said in a statement.

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